T60s
T60s

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

T60s and T2B
T60s and T2B

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

T60C and T2B
T60C and T2B

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

T60s
T60s

Photo by Dave Ellifrit

1/9

Encounter Summary: 

We received a call from Howie and Susan at Orca Network about a pilot's 45 minute old sighting of six whales heading toward Harney Channel. Dave headed down to the boat and left Snug Harbor at 1330 to go for a look.
Finding probable transients on the inside of the San Juan Islands is hard. There are lots of little islands for them to be behind and lots of directions for them to go. Dave's plan of attack was to retrace J pod's Christmas Eve route on the slight chance the whales might be residents. Chimo cruised east through Spieden Channel and around the north side of Jones Island and into the Wasp Islands, taking a scan with binoculars at every intersection. Chimo then headed through Pole Pass, around the south side of Bell Island, and then east through Harney Passage. By the time Chimo was at the east end of Harney Channel, Ivan Reiff and his crew aboard Western Prince were out looking too and they headed up San Juan Channel toward Yellow Island. Dave decided to head back west through Harney Channel rather than head south down Upright Channel in case he missed the whales. Chimo headed back through Harney Channel and then halfway up West Sound and scanned with binocs deep up into the bay. On the way out of West Sound, Ivan called with an hour old report of whales heading south in Upright Channel so Western Prince head back down San Juan Channel. Dave decided to call it quits and head home so headed down Wasp Passage to San Juan Channel. Dave changed his mind and decided to help keep looking so Chimo charged down the Shaw Island side of San Juan Channel. Western Prince went south of Turn Island and scanned south and into Griffin Bay while Chimo headed south down the Lopez Island side of San Juan Channel to about Shark Reef but found nothing.
Since it was 1515 and the day was dark, gray and overcast, both Western Prince and Chimo decided to call it quits. Chimo headed back up San Juan Channel towards home. About the time Chimo was abeam of Yellow Island, Dave saw Morning Star heading into the Wasp Islands to take a look. Good luck, the area has been covered. Before Chimo had made it to O'Neal Island, Tom Cogan aboard Morning Star called on the radio to say they had found transients near the Orcas ferry landing! Where those whales were hiding, Dave didn't know but he had obviously missed them at some point.
So, just so the day would not be an exercise in frustration, Dave turned Chimo around and hauled butt back toward Harney Channel.
Chimo finally arrived on scene at 1545 where Morning Star were with the whales just west of the Shaw ferry landing. Upon approaching the whales, Morning Star reported they had just made a kill and there was blood and parts floating around. The whales milled briefly while they fed. T2B and T60C seemed to be coming in from a short distance from the west while the other T60's made the kill. After those two joined the action, T2B gave us a big spyhop. The whales then moved to the Orcas Island side of Harney Channel and began moving east. Chimo ended the encounter at 1608 due to failing light near the east end of Harney Channel.

03-Jan-15

1

1

15:45

16:08

Chimo

Dave Ellifrit

T2B, T60s

T2BT60,T60C,T60D,T60E, T60F

Harney Channel

48.35.21/123.56.26

48.35.29/122.54.85

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• Encounter #1 - Jan 3, 2015 •

Photos taken under Federal Permits

NMFS PERMIT: 15569/ DFO SARA 272